Return to ‘Fantasy Island,’ ‘Talent’ Goes Live, ‘Untold’ Sports Stories, ‘Stargirl’ Is Back
TV is back to business after the Olympics, which means a new reboot, as Fox revives the 1970s’ TV staple Fantasy Island. America gets to vote as America’s Got Talent begins its live shows. Netflix’s anthology Untold revisits major events and personalities from the world of sports. The CW’s DC Comics bandwagon welcomes back Stargirl.
Fantasy Island (2021)
The plain, the plain truth is that everything old is new again in pop culture, which explains the latest resurrection of the 1970s chestnut—which previously inspired a short-lived 1998 remake on ABC (with Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke) and a quickly forgotten horror-movie prequel in 2020. Fox’s breezily bizarre reboot is a frothy blast of summer escapism, and at the very least is a welcome respite from the myriad game shows and reality competitions cluttering the network lineups all summer. The big twist: Mr. Roarke is now Ms. Roarke, a direct descendant—call her—Roselyn Sanchez elegantly rocking her white pantsuit as she welcomes guests onto the magical island for a chance to realize their deepest and sometimes darkest fantasies. Guest stars in the opener include Prodigal Son’s fabulous Bellamy Young as a weight-conscious TV personality who desires nothing more than to pig out—although this eating compulsion reveals some serious psychological triggers. Kiara Barnes co-stars as Ruby, a guest with a terminal illness who seeks a momentary return to happier days and gets more than she bargains for.
America’s Got Talent
Summer TV’s most popular talent show returns from Olympics hiatus with the beginning of live quarterfinals, when America gets to weigh in and pick their fan favorites. Each Tuesday for the next three weeks, 12 acts perform, with results announced on Wednesday. (Among this week’s talent: Golden Buzzer-winning singer Jimmie Herrod.) For five acts still on the ropes, a second chance to make the live shows takes place on Peacock in the one-hour special AGT: America’s Wildcard, streaming all week. (Those acts include singers Dylan Zangwill, Matt Mauser and Storm Large, comedian Mike Goodwin and magician Patrick Kun.) Voting on Twitter continues through Friday morning, with the wildcard winner scheduled to perform on the Aug. 24 live show. (Quarterfinals also resume on NBC’s Capital One College Bowl at 10/9c, with University of Michigan’s team facing the University of Alabama.)
The creators of Netflix’s Wild Wild Country docuseries, realizing that things can also get pretty wild within the world of sports, are responsible for a five-part docuseries—episodes drop weekly, a rarity for the streamer—reliving key sporting events and profiling larger-than-life personalities who promise new “untold” perspectives. First up is “Malice at the Palace,” which looks back at the infamous 2004 NBA brawl between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons that went all the way into the stands of The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan. This costly (to the teams) breach of sportsmanship is recounted by many of the players involved in the fracas.
Having defeated the Injustice Society of America, teen superhero Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl (Bric Bassinger) is due for a summer vacation—or so her dad Pat (Luke Wilson) decides as the second season begins. As Courtney decides what her future holds, juggling schoolwork and saving the world, new threats will challenge her. And watch for Green Lantern’s daughter to emerge.
Inside Tuesday TV:
- Wild ’N Out (8/7c, VH1): Nick Cannon’s unstoppable freestyle improv show returns for a 16th season, with the host taking on Fat Joe and Latto in back-to-back episodes of wild games and throwdowns. (The guests also perform.)
- Chopped: Playing with Fire (9/8c, Food Network): Out of the kitchen and into the fire, as the popular cooking competition dares chefs to work their magic with mystery ingredients over open flames for a rotating panel of judges. Opening challenges include a watermelon appetizer and a 30-minute steak.
- Frontline: In the Shadow of 9/11 (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): In a characteristically hard-hitting documentary, Leaving Neverland’s Dan Reed investigates the 2006 sting of the so-called “Liberty City Seven” cell of would-be bombers as an example of the FBI’s questionable methods in rooting out domestic terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attack.
- Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys (10/9c, HBO): The 16th season of the NFL training-camp franchise is embedded with “America’s Team” for the third time (after seasons in 2002 and 2008). The five-episode season, concluding Sept. 7, provides an all-access look at preparations for what Cowboys fans hope will be a comeback season. Who will make the final roster?
- The Profit (10/9c, CNBC): CEO Marcus Lemonis once again applies his Midas touch to struggling small businesses in the reality series’ eighth season. In the premiere, he heads to Utah to sweeten a debt-ridden family’s honey enterprise
- Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail (10:30/9:30c, TBS): Saturday Night Live’s Tim Meadows guests on the Wild West comedy as Jedidiah, a self-proclaimed prophet and leader of a pious sect calling themselves the Noonans. They come to the wagon train’s aid after they’re robbed by bandits, led by Benny the Teen’s (Steve Buscemi) rebellious daughter, Trig (A Black Lady Sketch Show’s Quinta Brunson). Could the Noonans also provide salvation for Rev. Ezekiel’s (Daniel Radcliffe) pathetic love life?
- Phil Wang: Philly Philly Wang Wang (streaming on Netflix): In his first Netflix stand-up special, the prolific comic plays to a sold-out London Palladium crowd with a set about race, politics and his British-Malaysian heritage.